“I’m not taking advantage of you.”
“Then don’t say you love me if you really don’t. It’s not fair. Because I do love you. I hate you right now and we’re not okay, but I love you.” I don’t know how I’m even able to speak, since the sudden rush of emotions are warring with each other at the back of my throat.
Jase struggles to hide his as well. “I don’t love you, is that what you want to hear?”
“Don’t do that. Don’t use what we used to have.” My finger raises as I yell at him, my voice cracking. He loves me.
Heaving in a breath with the intensity growing in his eyes his own voice trembles as he says, “Whether you believe it or not, I love you and you’re staying here.”
With an exhale and then another, a calmer one, his expression softens as he waits for me. He’s waiting for me to say it again and I know he is. “Everything I’ve done is for you. I love you, cailín tine.”
“I don’t want you to call me that right now.” I stop him with the statement, not knowing what to believe. Adrenaline is coursing through my body. Fight or flight taking over. He won’t let me leave and he’s the only one left to fight. “Of everything I learned today, the only thing that I can focus on right now is that my sister is still alive.”
“I know. And I’m here for you.” He tries again to appeal to the side of me that’s still holding on to hope for us. I’m ashamed to admit that side still exists.
“How could you watch me cry for her and accept her death when you knew she was alive? I can’t even stomach the thought.”
“Do you expect to say you’re sorry and I simply forgive you?” I throw his own words back in his face. “Words are meaningless.”
“You can’t leave me when we fight.” He says the words like they’re a truth that’s undeniable. Like nothing else matters.
“Lying to me isn’t the same as fighting. And what you lied about… I’m not okay.” Pulling away from him, I feel the chill in the air. “Nothing about this is okay.”
My legs feel weak when I stand and he tries to right me, but I do it myself.
“I’m going to the guest room.” I give him my final words. The only ones I have for him in this moment. “Don’t lock me in and don’t trap me. But leave me the hell alone for right now.”
Loneliness is a horrible companion, but it’s the one I need right now. I think about messaging Laura, but I’m still pissed at her. Instead, I sit on the bed and look out of the window. Just to think. Just to break down again. All alone.
Does he know the nightmares he’s given me? The hate I feel for myself knowing I’d said goodbye to my sister, even though I still felt her presence. I knew I shouldn’t have, that it was too soon.
Shame is what comes for me when the loneliness no longer matters.
I don’t hear the door open and I don’t hear Seth walk in until he speaks from across the room. “Are you all right?”
Lifting my head from my folded arms, I glance over my shoulder. I’m certain I look like a wreck, with my knees pulled into my chest so I’m merely a ball of limbs staring out a window.
“What do you think?” I ask him.
“I know you hate me–”
“I don’t hate you.”
“Well, I know you’re mad at me, and I’m sorry.”
“Okay.” The petty answer leaves me instantly. I’ll be damned if I’m simply going to forgive him in this moment.
The bed dips and I turn back to Seth, warning him to get the hell out. “I’d like to be alone.”
“Just one thing.” Although it’s a statement, he says it like it’s a question.
With a nod, I agree to hear him out.
“He lied to you, he does that,” Seth tells me easily, like there’s nothing wrong at all with it. “He made mistakes he’s not used to. He decided to do things he shouldn’t have.” There’s a rhythm to his voice that’s calming. I fall for it, listening to every word he says. “He’s not the only person I’ve ever met that lies to make other people feel better.”
“He could say he’s sorry,” I counter as if a simple “sorry” would make much of a difference. Then I remember… he did. He said he was sorry. I don’t remember for which part. Maybe all of it. He was right though, words are meaningless.
“He’s not. He’d do it again if he had to.” I’d be pissed off if Seth wasn’t so matter of fact and if I wasn’t so convinced already that what he’s saying is the absolute truth.